Frugal if a lifestyle choice. Plain. Simple.
There is a vast majority of things that are encompassed in being frugal. I believe frugal means something different to everyone. Here is a picture of what frugal looks like to me. Let me preface with, I am no Picasso, but I can verbally paint a decent image.
First of all, I am not a stay at home mom. I am a home manager. I manage an entire household. This means everything I do that saves us money, earns us money. Therefore, we do not eat out very often. In most cases, we eat out when we have a gift card. Sometimes we eat Chick-Fil-A, though the cost of that is sometimes the equivalent of eating at Chili's, I tell you! In fact, when we plan our budget, we do not even put in eating out, just yet. I cook dinner every night with plans for left overs for Mike to take to work and the girls and I to eat. We do not buy clothes. Though my husband gave me $75 for Mother's Day for which I went to every thrift store in town and got enough clothes to last me the rest of the year...or, well, you know! A lot. I plan grocery shopping trips like most people plan a vacation. I deal match everything and use coupons upon coupons to make sure I am getting the best prices. This often means planning my meals around what is on sale. I try not to shop at multiple store if I can avoid it though it happens and I appreciate when I am saving that much! I look at that time and effort as income. I do a lot of reading of blogs where people do similar things so I can get meal and shopping ideas as well as just good tips for my house management. We watch movies from Blockbuster online. We play in our pool and our backyard for fun. We do not get babysitters. Thankfully, we have gracious family and friends who will take our girls when we need it! We combine trips out to save on gas which means having some fore thought when leaving the house. We rarely do things without discussing it first. Any purchase is researched and double checked and researched again. Mike bargains and barters. A LOT. With bills, with purchases, even with the guys who take care of our cars. When you shop locally and with family or privately owned places, you can do this type of thing. Not to mention, you keep locals in business. We grow veggies and raise chickens for eggs. We did not cut out cable but we did cut it to a minimum. We did not cut out cell phones, but we cut them to a minimum. We still have 2 cars because Mike commutes and hour to work and works 7 days a week. Hence my next fact. Mike works 2 jobs. I stay home to home school our 6 year old and keep our 1 year old out of day care. We are careful with electricity and water, but not obsessive. We reuse paper in the printer. We fill the sink before washing a large load of dishes. We make sure the washer and dishwasher are all the way loaded before turning them on. Thoughtful things that we have learned over time to save lots of pennies that turn into dollars.
These are a few things that we do, but I am sure when I really think about it, parts have become second nature and I don't think of them as frugal anymore. Like I previously mentioned, it becomes a lifestyle.
Now the questions come...why???? Why do we do this? We have 2 girls. We live in an unstable economy. We live on 1 income. We like our home. We want to keep our home. But the most important reasons came from our good friend Dave Ramsey. Well, we like to think of him that way, though he has no idea who we are. His motto is "If you will live like no one else, then later, you can live like no one else." We don't want to find out when we are 60 that there is no Social Security and the little savings we had put away didn't earn enough interest. We want to save with intention and purpose and that purpose is we want to depend on ourselves. We are on a long journey of saving and living a different lifestyle than those around us. Mike gets teased on a regular basis for not going out with the guys after work and just going home. I like to think its cause he thinks his wife is cool! I don't have all the newest clothes and coolest shoes. We only go to the movies when we can get in free. I bring our snack by the way!! Our living room stays unpainted and our kitchen utensils are old. But everything still works and we want for NOTHING!!!!!!!!!! We are blessed beyond our deserving and are grateful everyday that Mike comes home and still has a job. The best part is, we plan to live like we are grateful until we die.